The Team I Would Field From This NFL Draft
by Trevor Whenham - 04/11/2007
The NFL Draft is finally getting close. After months of speculation and list making we are almost at the point where we will have all of our questions answered. We'll know what trades will be made (likely not as many as we want), which teams improve dramatically (not the Lions - Matt Millen still works for them) and what truly head-scratching picks will be made. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the draft by this point in April. On one hand I am sick of all the lists and talk about who is rising and falling. On the other hand, I just can't help myself - I'll be making my lists and checking twice right up until the picks are made on April 28. In the interest of keeping myself, and you, interested, I'm going to avoid doing yet another 2007 NFL mock draft, and instead do something just a little different. Here, if I had to build an expansion team filled entirely with players in this draft, is the starting lineup I would field:
QB - JaMarcus Russell, LSU. I'm not that excited about the choices. Russell has a ridiculous arm, but I'm not convinced he has the mind to match it. Quinn has been too bad in big games to get the keys to my team. Drew Stanton is interesting, but not as a first choice.
WR - Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech and Dwayne Jarrett, USC. Johnson is obviously the biggest no-brainer in the draft. Jarrett doesn't take much thought either, in my mind. Some people don't have him at the top because he doesn't measure particularly well. I pay more attention to all the ridiculous, almost impossible, catches I've seen him make under huge pressure.
RB - Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma. I'm not happy with this pick. I'm not convinced that Peterson is durable enough to stand up in the pros since he really didn't in college, but the alternatives aren't great. Marshawn Lynch didn't play every down in college, so he's not one I would want to rely on. Michael Bush is great if he's healthy, but his leg makes me very nervous. Not an inspiring group.
FB - Brian Leonard, Rutgers. Not that anyone actually cares who the fullback is, but Leonard will be a gem. He's hard working and ridiculously selfless. A surefire offensive captain.
TE - Greg Olsen, Miami. This contest isn't even close. At the Combine Olsen looked like a machine while the rest of his closest competitors looked like boys next to him. If I went for a two-tight end set I'd go for Michael Allan from Whitworth. He's very raw, but his athleticism and attitude make him worth teaching.
OT - Joe Thomas, Wisconsin and Joe Staley, Central Michigan. Thomas takes about as much thought as Calvin Johnson does. Staley is the second choice just for his athleticism. Any guy who can run a 4.82 at 306 pounds is worth the effort to develop. He'll have less pressure on the right side and he'll flourish.
OG - Josh Beekman, Boston College and Justin Blalock, Texas. Beekman is a solid player even if he isn't a potential superstar, and he comes from B.C, which is a factory for good offensive linemen. Blalock is the class of the position in the draft and will be making post-season trips to Honolulu in his career, especially once he is coached to make his technique match his talents.
C - Ryan Kalil, USC. I don't love Kalil. His athleticism concerns me, and he got pushed around at times this season when he faced a defensive giant. Unfortunately, the center class is pretty weak, and Kalil is by far the best option.
I'll go with a 4-3 defense mainly because I like the options at defensive line a heck of a lot better than I like the linebackers.
DE - Gaines Adams, Clemson and Adam Carriker, Nebraska. Adams is a physical freak. I am counting on his skills to overcome his lack of size. Carriker is higher on my board than on some others because of the way he plays - he's a hustler who goes hard right to the whistle. Despite his faults he's a better choice in my mind than Jamaal Anderson.
DT - Amobi Okoye, Louisville and Alan Branch, Michigan. Despite his recent attitude concerns, Branch will be a solid pro for a long time. Okoye is such an intriguing player - he's only 19, so he could be a fixture for 15 years if he works out. He has to be mentally tough, too, to have thrived in college at such a young age.
OLB - Paul Posluzny, Penn State and Jon Beason, Miami. Beason gets knocked for his lack of size and his aggressiveness. His athleticism compensates for size for me, and I love a guy who is this aggressive - you just have to work with him to avoid mistakes. Posluzny has an incredible college resume and will be the heart of the defense for a decade.
ILB - Patrick Willis, Ole Miss. Another player that I'm not thrilled with, but Willis is the only ILB even remotely worth considering in the first two rounds. I like his athleticism, but I didn't at all like how he seemed to disappear when facing big blockers on the other side of the ball.
CB - Leon Hall, Michigan and Darrelle Revis, Pittsburgh. Both guys have shown what they can do, and they both are nasty players. They will both need to show that they can step up against top competition, but they have the bodies and the attitude to get it done.
S - LaRon Landry, LSU and Reggie Nelson, Florida. Landry is as solid a defensive prospect as there is. He's fast and tough and he'll be very good. I'm going with Nelson over the more popular Michael Griffin of Texas. Both guys often seem to have brain cramps, but Nelson has more upside.